The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday June 25th

UNC track and field wins nine events at two-day invitational

The first meet of the season might not always yield the fastest times and highest jumps, but the North Carolina indoor track and field team still opened its 2012 campaign with success.

At the North Carolina-hosted Dick Taylor Invitational on Friday and Saturday, the Tar Heels claimed victory in a total of nine track and field events while competing against 20 other schools from across the mid-Atlantic region.

On Friday, the Tar Heels garnered four wins, including sophomore Roy Smith’s victory in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Smith finished with a time of 8.03 seconds.

“Opening up as I did, it gave me a confidence booster to be able to win my first meet at home,” Smith said.

“We use the meets like these invitationals to get a lot of practice work in instead of competing at the top level so we won’t be burnt out by the time it is time for championships.”

Joining Smith as first-place finishers on Friday were Jacinda Evans in the women’s long jump, Zoey Russell in the women’s 600-meter run and Chadd Pierce in the men’s pole vault.

On Saturday, North Carolina tallied wins in five more events, in four of which the Tar Heels registered two or more top-3 finishes.

In the women’s triple jump, Michelle Newman, Tristine Johnson and Chrishawn Williams finished in that order to sweep the event for the Tar Heels.

Freshman Cameron Overstreet and sophomore Sandi Morris took first and second place respectively in the women’s pole vault, both jumping 13-1 1/2 inches.

Both Morris and Overstreet, who are training partners, were keen to praise the benefits of early meets.

“We have all these huge goals in mind,” Morris said. “These early meets give you a chance to practice in a meet atmosphere.”

Overstreet also said that she views the first indoor meet of the season as a nice benchmark going forward.

“After we practice for so long since the beginning of school, it is nice to know where you stand at the beginning of competition going into the season,” she said.

On the track Saturday, senior Danielle Brock won the women’s 400-meter dash in 56.17 seconds.

Elizabeth Mott and freshman Iman Wilkerson finished first and third in the women’s 200-meter dash with times of 25.16 and 25.43 seconds, respectively.

UNC also claimed the top two finishes in the women’s 4-x-400 relay.

Assistant coach Josh Langley led the Tar Heels in the invitational, filling in for head coach Dennis Craddock, who was absent due to health concerns.

Langley said he prepared his team for the first meet of the season by telling them not to expect too much.

“I told the team in a meeting earlier this week, ‘It’s early. The goals you set for yourself this year probably weren’t going to get achieved at this meet just because we’re right in our training, coming off of Christmas break,’” he said.

Instead, Langley said he was more concerned with the Tar Heels’ intensity and concentration.

“What we want to see is that competitive fire within them. We want them to get in the mix, compete hard and see if they can win. That’s really what we wanted to achieve and I think we did.”

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